Saturday, August 2, 2008
Tender Steamed White Fish with Crisp Ginger and Coriander
From simple observation, I find that fish is rarely a crowd pleaser, unless your family name is Highliner. Like tofu. It's perceived by many as bland and dull. The only difference is its peculiar smell, especially when not prepared fresh, which tends to appall many, like my buddy Veronique, who is open to try anything but just can't seem to stand the sight of fish.
As the famous latin proverb would say, "De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum", there is no arguing about taste. Let's put it this way, you either like it, or you don't. Totally respect that.
Everyone loves eating food that bursts with flavour, otherwise most of us would listen to Molière's famous saying: “Il faut manger pour vivre et non vivre pour manger”. Indeed, fish may not be as hearty as a good steak or roasted chicken but there are so many great recipes out there that can turn a dull looking fish into a mouth-watering side dish. In fact, most Asian families serve fish as an accompaniment to the main course.
Steaming is a great method of cooking fish that retains its tenderness. For this techique, I like using a bamboo steamer, which can be purchased in any asian grocery store. A rice cooker will also work perfectly, using a fitted flat strainer. Some rice cookers will come with it. Any white fish can be used for this recipe (sea bass, sea bream, halibut, whichever....). Salmon will not give the desired result as it has a very different texture and aroma.
Coriander, ginger and a light soya sauce (lower sodium content) will add a wonderful fragrance and flavour to this simple dish. Absolutely savory.
Preparation: 20 minutes, cooking time: 15 minutes
Recipe "au pif":
2-3 nice white fish fillets of your choice (sea bass, sea bream, halibut, cod...etc.)
1/2 cup fresh coriander
4-5 thick slices of fresh ginger
1 tbsp white wine (optional)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander
3 tbsp light soya sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil
About 2 tbsp finely sliced fresh ginger (sliced À la Julienne)
Add about 2 inches (5 cm) of boiling water to a medium-sized saucepan, then fit the steamer (or bamboo steamer) over, making sure it doesn't come into contact with the water, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Set aside on a serving platter.
Lay a bed of the fresh coriander and slices of ginger at the bottom of the steamer. Gently place the fillets on top of the coriander and ginger. Drizzle with white wine (optional). Cover and let steam for about 7-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily. Don't overcook it as you want the fish to be tender and moist.
Heat vegetable oil in a small pan until smoking hot and quickly add in the julienne strips of ginger and stir for about 10 seconds or until the tips are brown. It should pop and sizzle. Lay the fried ginger on the fish.
On lower heat using the same pan, gently heat the sesame and vegetable oil. Add in the soya sauce and chopped coriander, stir for about 2 minutes.
Pour the soya sauce mix over the fish. Garnish with fresh coriander.
Serve hot with rice.
Serves about 4 people, as a side dish, or 2 people as a main dish.